1. When you were young, what job did you picture yourself having as an adult?
As a young kid I had dreams of becoming all sorts of things – ballet dancer, painter, fashion designer, stuntwoman. Anything physical or creative really.

2. When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?
I think there was never a question that I would do anything other than be a creative practitioner in some form. When I was a teenager, things got quite rough and I found that drawing and painting were a great distraction from other people’s life choices; they gave me autonomy and a means of entertaining myself in solitude.

3. Were you good at art at school?
I was good at art at school. I was definitely classed as the arty one. I think it defined me and cushioned me within the constraints of an intermittently hostile environment.

4. Do you remember the first exhibition you went to?
At A Level I went to a Rothko exhibition on a school trip to London. I didn’t want to go in as at the time I was more interested in the Great Master painters like Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. My tutor gently persuaded me and paid for my ticket. I stood in front of the huge blocks of colours and was simultaneously shocked and moved by how much the paintings resonated.

5. Which artist do you most admire?
I admire Roxana Halls, a contemporary feminist figurative painter, as I am impressed by her stamina, perseverance and commitment to the painted image and her feminist narratives, which confront contemporary society’s often undermining rhetoric about female behaviour and its ‘appropriate’ parameters.

6. Which talent of hers do you covet?
Not so much covet, as I don’t want it in the possessive sense of the word, but I think her narrative implications are incredibly brave.

7. If you could own any one painting in history, which would it be?
It would have to be Alexander Harrison’s La Solitude as I feel he perfectly depicts the sense of liberation and simple joy that potentially comes from communing with uninterrupted nature. Also his colour glazes are pretty great.

8. What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen recently and why?
Mixing It Up at the Hayward Gallery was fantastic as there was a great variety of paintings on display. I was particularly intrigued by Andrew Pierre Hart’s deep blue painting The Listening Sweet and Jonathan Wateridge’s Night Swimmer, where his characters are seen as both ‘off guard and hyper aware’. Both artists bravely portray their ideas in a semi-abstract figurative format.

9. Is there one place that’s had a decisive influence on your work and if so in what way?
The Isle of Man, where I grew up, gave me a freedom reminiscent of a 1960s childhood. We wandered the landscape parentless and feral until we lost the light. I think it gave me a freedom from social pressure and a healthy absence of self-awareness.

10. Where in the world would you like to spend six months making your art?
It would have to be in and around Luca Guadagnino’s 17th-century palazzo, where he filmed Call Me By Your Name, and the nearby rivers of Lombardy. That would be the dream: to live and paint in the house and go out on photoshoots to the surrounding rivers.

11. What subjects are you always drawn to in your work?
My painting content has had many incarnations, including dancers, portraits, sleeping people and landscapes. I’ve found in my recent oil paintings that water and figures work best as I like the complexity and challenges of the imagery as well as the synergy between the water and the figure. It feels more subtle as a means of expression than perhaps that of a portrait or dancing figure.

12. Which colour do you find yourself using in your work more frequently than others?
Generally my palette consists of traditional colours like burnt umber and yellow ochre but recently I’ve purchased a whole array of blues.

13. How often do you create a new picture, on average?
I probably produce one picture per month on average, although I have recently taken to larger wooden canvases which are taking a little longer.

14. What’s your studio like?
My studio is basically an easel, a box of oil paints, a pile of primed wooden boards, a bottle of turpentine and an expanse of brushes, along with bags of reference material. This is generally transported to the corner of the nearest quiet room, along with Spotify and lots of snacks.

15. How do you relax?
Talking to close friends in bars, cafes or even swimming pools is probably my favourite way to relax.

16. What’s your most treasured possession?
I would say that humans are what I treasure or perhaps it’s the shared moments with these people. So I guess the tangible form of this would be the photographs I have that reflect the different chapters of my life.

17. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Ha. I don’t really feel guilty for any of my pleasures, of which there are quite a few.

18. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
I would go back to the late 1800s and study art at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and live the bohemian dream.

19. What plans do you have to develop your art?
I recently went to the Musee d’Orsay and got completely obsessed with the glazing techniques of Pierre Bonnard and Alexander Harrison, so I will continue to develop my mark making and glazing techniques. I’m also constantly playing with the balance of realism and abstraction in my imagery, along with the semantics of the swimmer’s body postures.

20. How would you like to be remembered?
I don’t really mind how I’m remembered as long as the people close to me think of me fondly. It’d be a bonus if I’m thought of as a painter.

Kate Halsall, Blue Swimming Pool, oil on board, 84 x 59 cm